Like there was ever any question. Of course Clayton Kershaw was going to win the NL Cy Young award, and despite some worry that someone would foolishly toss a vote to Adam Wainwright or Johnny Cueto, of course he was going to win it unanimously. Like with Hanley Ramirez receiving and then declining the qualifying offer, it’s fun to have situations where it’s so clear what’s going to happen that you can actually write it all in advance.
I won’t bore you with a ton of his stats, because you know them all already, except to say this: Kershaw was already a two-time Cy winner who was clearly the best pitcher in the game, and he somehow got better. His K% was in the 25% range the last two years; now it’s 31.9%. His BB% fell again, to 4.1%. The resulting 27.8% K%-BB%? Easily the best in baseball. It’s important to remember that we didn’t just see a good season or a great one, we saw a historically great one, one that included a no-hitter that A) should have been a perfect game and B) ranks as among the most dominant games ever pitched. This isn’t to ignore what happened in the playoffs, though we know that a terrible Dodger bullpen and three days rest played something of a role. It’s to remember a season that indisputably will be remembered in baseball history.
Kershaw’s third Cy puts him in some ridiculously elite company when it comes to winning multiple awards, because only eight others have ever won as many. Any time you can mention your team’s ace in the same breath as Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Jim Palmer, and Tom Seaver, you know you’re talking about absolute greatness — and he’s still not even 27 until March. (Don’t start on the “knuckleball narrative stole 2012,” please, because R.A. Dickey was very, very good that year, and Kershaw’s first, in 2011, very easily could have gone to Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay.)
So, let’s quickly look back at the Chad-cives, and, hey, how about a delicious curveball from the no-no?
Pretty good, right?
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A year ago at this time, we were celebrating Kershaw’s award while also worrying that he still hadn’t signed a contract extension, because he would have been marching off into free agency right now. Now, we’re eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s NL MVP vote. This, well, this is better.